How did you know?

I am having anxiety of a possible career change to medicine. I am only 25 and have yet to take even take a prereq class.

My question to you is how did you know becoming a doctor was the right choice? Were you nervous about leaving a stable or higher paying career? I read the thread about lawyers and I am in a similar situation. I have a designation where I will always have a job and likely to make very good money, and great money with alot of effort. However, I think I my skills and personality are better suited to medicine and I think I would excel in that profession and enjoy it more. However, I am pretty “set” in my current job, and medicine is going to take tons and tons of work (24 hr shifts, all that stuff) I know I need to extensive shadowing.

Sorry for venting but any reassurance would be more then helpful as this is a major decision in my life. As I said in my last post, I am not going to quit my job just yet, but by taking prereq’s I may be limiting the speed I advance in my current career.

If you’re not nervous about leaving a stable, well-paying job to pursue medicine, you’re either crazy or stupid. I left a tenured teaching job to pursue the no-guarantees world of taking the med school pre-reqs. It was one of the hardest things I ever did.

You are correct - you need lots of shadowing and clinical volunteering experience if possible. You need to see both the positives and negatives of medicine. I will warn you that right now a lot of physicians are very jaded and will tell you they wish they had never gone into medicine. There is a lot of uncertainty right now as to where medicine is headed, especially in terms of compensation.

The other consideration I would offer to you is that the farther along in your career, the more difficult it will be to make the change.

It’s never an easy decision.

I had always considered a career in medicine, but I wasn’t convinced until I became a paramedic. At that point I was sold!

My situation is similar to yours in that I have a very stable job as a professional firefighter/paramedic just outside of Atlanta. I enjoy my job very much, but being a physician is where I belong.

It’s not an easy thing to choose, and I think that some of those who regret the decision didn’t perhaps consider the consequences earnestly enough. Yes, you will give up a lot. Yes, it will be very hard. Yes, there are uncertain times in the road ahead. But I knew I was ready when I considered all those things and was willing to forge ahead anyway. I can’t personally think of a single area where someone can have a greater impact in peoples lives. But even that may not be enough. You must be truly interested and curious about the science of medicine.

You’re pretty young and you’ve got plenty of time. Get some shadowing behind you and look beyond the thoughts of money and prestige. You’ll spend roughly a decade of your life just to be qualified to do this, if you still want it after careful consideration than go after it with enthusiasm!

Best wishes!

Hi Joey. At 25 I applied to my state university, and started work on a Biology degree just before I turned 26. As a web developer I started making very good money during my second year of classes, and began to re-consider whether or not to keep going. I failed physics that spring, and wasn’t entirely certain I could survive the remainder of my Biology degree. I wasn’t sure if being a doctor was still right for me, and I knew the money was not going to compare to what I could do if I stayed in the field as a developer.

What convinced me that medicine was right for me was volunteering in an ED at a county hospital, over the summer. The interactions with patients and what I learned from all the techs, nurses and a few of the doctors made it clear that I would be unhappy if I didn’t get into medicine in some way. At the same time, I re-took physics over an 8 week summer semester and managed to do well in it. So my confidence was restored and I kept going towards my goal.

The advice commonly given is to volunteer in a few places so you can answer some questions. Do you like working with the various populations you see in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter? Do you like learning and teaching others? Can you handle the clinical experience - interacting with patients and the high stress environment? It’s tough to find someone to shadow, but easy to volunteer in both county and private hospitals (easy in means of finding a place that will allow you to do so, there is usually a lot of hoops to jump through). Whatever type you get, the clinical exposure insures you get a feel for what you’re really getting into. :smiley: